Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun: Episode 11 – “Let’s Rice”

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is about a girl named Chiyo Sakura who has a crush on Umetaro Nozaki. When she tries confessing her feelings to him, she doesn’t manage to get it out right; but by saying what she said, she comes to learn that Nozaki is the author of a shojo manga that she’s read in a shojo manga magazine; he writes under the pen name, Sakiko Yumeno. Sakura becomes Nozaki’s assistant.

Episode 11 is split into two stories. The first one sees Nozaki concerned over the development of the story in his manga. He tries sketching various scenarios, but Sakura says none of them work. When she says she wants development that will excite or surprise her, Nozaki takes up the challenge.

But to take on the challenge, Nozaki spends the next day at school constantly surprising Sakura and seeing her reactions to the various surprises. This section actually lends itself to some rather funny gags, and it also provides some nice development for the relationship between Sakura and Nozaki. By the end of the day, Sakura is tired of the surprises, but still accepts an invitation from Nozaki to walk home together. But the ultimate surprise of the day comes when they part ways; when Sakura asks what the surprise is this time, Nozaki says that he just wanted to walk home with her. Now, is this a hint of Nozaki actually having feelings for Sakura, or is this the series trolling us again? It’s never really clear at the end of the episode whether it’s legit or just a troll.

The second story sees all of Nozaki’s male assistants having to stay the night at his place because it’s raining really hard out and the trains are stopped. As Hori tries to hide the fact that he helps out on the manga from Mikoshiba to keep word from getting back to Yu, Nozaki uses what happens as a source of inspiration for a sleepover storyline for the manga. It’s frightening just how easily Nozaki is able to take their dialogue and re-work it into girl talk.

Nozaki has the guys stay up late so he can get inspiration from their conversations for his manga. First, Mikoshiba asks Hiro what he thinks of Yu, but the conversation is quickly deflected to Sakura. They go to ask Nozaki if he has feelings for her, but… they and the audience are trolled. Nozaki is fast asleep! But it is interesting to note that as he sleeps, Nozaki’s cheeks get a little red. Does this mean something, or is this another way of trolling the audience?

Episode 11 was definitely one of the more amusing episodes of the series that I’ve seen in recent weeks. In a lot of respects, it reminds me a lot of the humor and feel of the first couple of episodes. Honestly, I think this series is at its strongest when the stories and humor focus on Nozaki and Sakura. Even though the second half of the episode may not have had Sakura in it, I still found this section to be really amusing; I thought it was great to get to see all of the main high school male characters together in one episode and interacting with one another. This especially helped to pull Wakamatsu more into the mix, because he felt like he was separated out more from the other characters.

I can’t believe there’s only one episode left of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. Hopefully it’ll go out on a good note and have a satisfactory enough conclusion.

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